February 28, 2012

Ford SYNC to debut in Europe this year on all-new B-Max

Ford’s all-new B-Max is a sophisticated small family car which delivers a powerful punch in terms of class-leading technology, fuel economy and an ingenious door design providing unrivalled access to the car.

Where most vehicles debut at motor shows,
B-Max makes its first public appearance at a key technology event, the first-ever vehicle to do so at the influential Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The B-Max will be the first vehicle in Europe to feature SYNC, Ford’s voice-activated in-car connectivity system powered by Microsoft Windows.

This is especially fitting for Ford’s all-new compact multi-activity vehicle that heralds the European introduction of SYNC; a voice-activated in-car connectivity system that takes the integration of mobile devices, voice control and convenience to a new level with extensive device compatibility and voice command.

Developed in partnership with Microsoft, SYNC already features on four million cars in the US, and its introduction to Europe in one of the most affordable vehicles in Ford’s European range will help take the company a significant step further towards its target of 13-million SYNC customers by 2015. In total, Ford expects to have more than 3.5-million SYNC-enabled vehicles on the roads of Europe by 2015.

“The all-new Ford B-Max is at the forefront of Ford’s plans to deliver SYNC to customers in Europe for the first time, and is the perfect vehicle for the job,” said Stephen Odell, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.

Ford’s Emergency Assistance feature alerts local emergency services operators after an accident, in the correct language for the region, and is the most advanced system of its type. It will be available in more than 30 countries across Europe and beyond.

During the development of the Emergency Assistance feature Ford worked with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), gaining valuable input into the system design. The EENA aims to ensure a consistently high level of response to 112 emergency number calls across Europe.

“We are pleased that Ford has consulted with the EENA and European emergency call centres in the development of the Emergency Assistance feature,” said Gary Machado, Executive Director of the EENA.

“We are confident that solutions enabling vehicles to be connected to emergency call centres will contribute to saving lives in Europe.”

The activation of an airbag or the vehicle’s emergency fuel pump shut-off prompts the vehicle to initiate an emergency call, using an introductory message, through the occupant’s Bluetooth connected mobile phone. The message is transmitted in the appropriate local language based on the GPS coordinates of the vehicle.

“Ford’s Emergency Assistance feature will deliver significant additional peace-of-mind to B-Max customers,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s Chief Technical Officer and Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “It will also do so at no extra cost to the user for the lifetime of the vehicle and without requiring a subscription or registration, unlike competitor systems,” he added.

SYNC can also read aloud incoming SMS text messages from compatible mobile phones. It works with a variety of digital music players, including iPod and USB flash drives. The system automatically updates phonebook entries, while audio files can be browsed by genre, artist, album, song and playlist using simple voice commands. The USB port also enables the implementation of software upgrades for future enhancements and features.

Developed in association with speech technology specialist Nuance, SYNC will initially support UK English, EU French, EU Spanish, EU Portuguese, German, Italian, Turkish, Dutch and Russian.

SYNC and Emergency Assistance are just two highlights of the class-leading technology package which will be available on the B-Max. It will also include Ford’s Active City Stop system, which is designed to help motorists avoid low speed collisions with stationary or slower-moving traffic in front, and hill start assist, which helps keep the car from rolling backward after the driver has come to a stop on a slope or hill and rear-view camera.

The B-Max features the Ford Easy Access Door System that integrates central body pillars into the hinged front doors and sliding rear doors to create large, unobstructed openings on either side of the car.

The B-Max engine range offers as much as much as 15 per cent more economical motoring with class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions available on both the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine. Opting for the B-Max 1.0-litre EcoBoost 120 ps, offering 114 g/km CO2 emissions and fuel economy of 57.6 mpg, could save customers as much as £390 per year over its rivals.

The Ford B-Max will make its automotive show debut at next month’s 2012 Geneva Motor Show and go on sale later in the UK this September.


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